WASHINGTON (July 15, 2003)
"Braking the Cycle" Bike Tour Applies Final Brakes August 1
Twenty- four bicyclists left San Francisco June 1 on a 4,000 mile journey. On August 1 those bikers and others who have joined them en-route will end their trip in Washington. The goal of the "Brake the Cycle" tour is to raise awareness about poverty in the United States and to engage more Catholics in anti-poverty programs, those of the Church and the wider community. The cyclists are a mixed group of lay people and religious, 19 to 73 years old. They stop in parishes in 12 states and 34 dioceses and present interactive educational programs. People are asked to take the Break the Cycle of Poverty Pledge and to spread the word about poverty, its causes and solutions. "One out of every 10 families lives in poverty, and one out of every six American children is poor," says Father Robert Vitillo, Executive Director, Catholic Campaign for Human Development. "We hope by August 1 that a lot more people will know more about poverty and about what they can do to alleviate it." Visitors to www.brakethecycle.org can learn more about the ride as it reaches completion.
Fr. Robert Vitillo is available at 202/541-3367 (email@example.com)
Safe Environments Major Goal of New Child and Youth Protection Office
It has been just over a year since the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) convened their landmark general meeting in Dallas, a conference that brought about profound changes in the way the Church approaches and handles instances of sexual abuse of children. A significant commitment the bishops made to each other in Dallas was the promise that they would ensure that each of their dioceses would be "safe environments" for children. "That pledge," says Kathleen McChesney, Executive Director of the USCCB Office of Child and Youth Protection, "is stunning in scope." Training is underway to assure that those in contact with children in Catholic dioceses throughout the country, either as an employee or volunteer, undergo background investigations, education programs and codes of conduct training. "These are geared to recognizing and understanding sexual abuse and establishing expectations and accountability -- critical for a vibrant, effective prevention effort," says Ms. McChesney. "To make it work, everyone has to be in the mix – children, adults, parents, priests and bishops. We all have to make every effort possible to prevent acts of abuse from occurring in the future."
Kathleen McChesney is available at 202/541-5413 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
August 15 Marks Feast of the Assumption of Mary
As summer vacation draws to a close, Catholics observe an important feast day August 15, The Feast of the Assumption, honoring Mary, mother of Jesus. This feast commemorates two events – the "falling asleep" (or "Dormitio") of the Blessed Virgin at the end of her life, and her being taken up to heaven. "The Assumption, in which Mary's body left the earth and entered eternity with God, gives hope to Christians of overcoming death in eternity through union with God," says Monsignor James Moroney, Director, USCCB Department of Liturgy. "The Feast of the Assumption is an honoring and an exultation of Mary, the most blessed of women and the Mother of the Son of God."
Monsignor James Moroney is available at 202/541-3060 (email@example.com)